Monday, September 24, 2012

Melbourne, Australia

A few days later (Tuesday 3 July) we touched down in Australia, pausing for a few days before heading to our ultimate destination of New Caledonia. After the heat and humidity of Thailand it was pleasant to arrive in the cool of a southern winter, though it felt more like autumn or spring. Shortly after boarding the SkyBus from the airport into the city centre, we were soon picking up some exciting new species: Australian Magpie, Little Raven, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (on a lamppost!), Spotted Dove, Silver Gull, Brown Flacon, Black-shouldered Kite, oh and Eurasian Starling and Little Egret. 

 After checking in to the Southbank Travelodge we explored the area around Federation Square and the Yarra river before heading through Alexandra Gardens to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Even though most local birders would probably take the following species for granted (as we would with our own local birds), I was fascinated to observe Magpie-Larks, Willie Wagtails, and the abundant Silver Gulls. The botanic gardens provided many good birds including Bell Miner, Red Wattlebird, Little Wattlebird, Australian Wood Duck, Little Black Cormorant, 22 roosting Nankeen Night-Herons, 80+ Dusky Moorhens, Chestnut Teal, 50+ Pacific Black Ducks, Black Swan, Australasian Grebe, Little Pied Cormorant, Purple Swamphen… and some familiar introductions such as Eurasian Blackbird. At dusk we left to the outrageous cacophonic sounds of a Laughing Kookabuura.

Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca)

Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata) - female

Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata) - male

Silver Gulls (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)

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